We conduct fMRI experiments at the Clinical Research Centre (CRC) at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Typical Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria for Participation
These vary from study to study. Generally, I am looking for healthy volunteers who:
have English as a first language
I typically use word stimuli in my experiments. I therefore want to make sure that everyone participating approaches my stimuli with a similar amount of ‘baggage’ attached to each word.
have no history of neurological disorder
I am looking to make inferences about how brains function under optimal conditions. Studying brains whose function is not always optimal might lead to problems with the inferences I make in my studies.
are not currently taking psychoactive medications or recreational drugs
This is for the same reason as above
Language is more likely to be lateralised differently in left-handed people than in right-handed people. That means that in right-handed people, language is most likely to be dependent on brain regions in the left hemisphere – in left-handed people, it is more likely that left and right hemispheric brain regions will be involved. Again, because I use word stimuli, I like to keep potential differences associated with how the brain deals with language at a minimum, so I only scan people who are right-handed.
are between the ages of 18 and 35
The brain develops over the course of the lifespan. I am particularly interested in how the brain functions when it is close to full maturity and has not had too much opportunity for ‘wear and tear’.
don’t have prison tattoos
Don’t get me wrong, some of them look alright, but it’s a safety issue to consider when scanning participants in an fMRI scanner. The scanner uses a very strong magnetic field to image the brain, and this magnetic field can have very undesirable effects on ferrous metal in the body. Most medical implants are made with non-ferrous metals so although they might interfere with the magnetic field, this doesn’t tend to cause the participants any discomfort at all. Prison tattoos on the other hand can be made by rubbing all sorts of metals and compounds into the skin, and there’s no guarantee that those would be safe under fMRI conditions. Discomfort would probably not be limited to the tattoos heating up and burning the surrounding flesh. The same applies to metal-workers who might have miniscule fragments of metal in their eyes.
If you would like to participate in an fMRI experiment, I can let you know more about studies I am running if you send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +44(0)1334 462077.
Typical Participant Compensation
Participants are typically reimbursed for their time at a rate of £10/hour + £10 transport costs (see below for travel options). Studies usually last 2 hours, so the average participant is compensated with £30 for their participation in an experiment.
Getting to the CRC from St Andrews
The 96/96A bus leaves hourly from St Andrews Bus Station an takes about 50 minutes to Ninewells Hospital (Stop D).
Timetables for the 96/96A service (pdf):
12th November 2012 onwards
If you’re planning on travelling from somewhere other than St Andrews Bus Station, the Traveline Scotland Journey Planner is useful. Ninewells have also put together a pdf with a comprehensive listing of public transport links to the hospital.
From the Ninewells bus stop, it’s a 5 minute walk to the CRC as follows (click to open larger versions in a new tab/window):
The CRC is on James Arrott Drive.
There is a free carpark for CRC participants right outside the CRC – if you would like a space reserved, please let me know in advance of your scan. When you reach the carpark, you will need to use the buzzer to contact the CRC reception in order to be let in.
Driving directions from St Andrews can be found below: